Government to accelerate 10 priority infrastructure projects

Government to accelerate 10 priority infrastructure projects


Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The government will expedite the development of 10 priority infrastructure projects to accelerate economic development and support the efforts to improve the peoples welfare.

President Joko Widodo in a limited cabinet meeting on the acceleration of infrastructure projects on Tuesday, last week, ordered to simplify the implementation process of infrastructure projects, so that they could be executed easily, and the peoples expectations on infrastructure development could be realized.

"If the current process is maintained, it will take time to implement the infrastructure projects. The implementation process of the infrastructure projects must be simplified, so that they will bear results soon," the president noted.

He cited the example of the development of Jakartas Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system, which has taken a long time during the planning, funding, and construction phases.

"The preparation phase has taken too long, and decisions were not taken soon. The MRT has been planned since 26 years," the president stated.

Joko Widodo remarked that after the planning phase, there are other phases to be carried out such as the feasibility study, bluebook, environmental impact analysis, financing sources, and organization setting.

The president expressed the need to prioritize the development of infrastructure such as roads, transportation, ports, and the electricity sector.

Therefore, the government has identified 10 priority infrastructure development projects that must be implemented this year. The ten projects are in the areas of electricity, clean water facilities, toll roads, railways, and airports.

In order to accelerate their implementation, the infrastructure projects will be directly supervised by several institutions.

Minister for National Development Planning/Head of the National Development Planning (PPN/Bappenas) Board Andrinof Achir Chaniago stated that the progress of these projects will be evaluated and formulated every three months to ensure that they are running in accordance with the plan.

Chaniago noted that his ministry, the office of the presidential staff, the Governments Development Finance Comptroller (BPKP), and the Cabinet Secretariat will set up a joint team to monitor and evaluate the progress of infrastructure projects.

"The monitoring and evaluation will be conducted to know whether the projects are facing problems," affirmed the minister. Strict supervision will be carried out to ensure success in infrastructure development, which has been sluggish over the past few years.

The ten infrastructure projects whose development must commence this year are the Bontang oil refinery plant in East Kalimantan, the Batan steam power generating plants in Central Java, the clean water project in West Semarang (Central Java), the Trans-Sumatra toll road, the Balik-Papan toll road in East Kalimantan, the East Kalimantan railway project, the Soekarno-Hatta express railway project in Jakarta, the 500 KV power transmission network in Sumatra, the Sumatra-Java high-voltage direct current power transmission network, and the revitalization of three airports in Lampung (Sumatra), Palu (Central Sulawesi), and Labuan Bajo in East Nusa Tenggara.

In order to support the accelerated development of the projects, the government is also drafting a Presidential Instruction, which will protect the state officials in charge of infrastructure projects from being criminalized.

PPN Ministrys Deputy for Infrastructure and Facility Affairs Dedy S. Priatna stated that the Presidential Instruction should be issued to ensure that the officials handling infrastructure projects will feel secure while implementing a policy on accelerating infrastructure development as far as they do not violate the law.

Priatna said that the government is concerned that the officials are hesitant to implement a policy on the acceleration of infrastructure development such as taking decisions on directly appointing companies to implement the projects.

The officials are concerned that a direct appointment or other policies on project acceleration would be questioned by law enforcers.

"What is important is that the officials do not commit corruption. If they are corrupt, they can just be arrested," remarked Priatna.

A regulation on the direct appointment of a company for an infrastructure project has also been issued through Presidential Instruction No. 38/2015 on cooperation between the government and businesses in infrastructure project development.

In the meantime, the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) noted on Thursday that the construction of infrastructure projects needed huge amounts of funds.

In order to carry out infrastructure development in the coming five years, the government will need funds worth Rp5,510 trillion while its budget is only estimated at Rp1,178 trillion for the five-year term.

Thus, there is a gap of about Rp4,341 trillion. Hence, the government is optimistic that the private sector would play an active role in infrastructure development.

According to Rosan P. Roeslani of the Kadin, funds set aside for infrastructure development in Indonesia are relatively small.

"Around Rp5,510 trillion is needed to carry out the development of infrastructure projects, but the available sources of funds are limited and fall short of the requirement," Roeslani informed reporters on Thursday.

Only funds worth around Rp1,178 trillion have been set aside in the state budget in the coming five years despite potentially unused budget funds of around Rp100 trillion.

He pointed out that a wide gap of around Rp4,341 trillion still exists between the funds from the state budget and the investment requirement. Therefore, the government has to seek non-budget funds to finance infrastructure projects.